Preparing for a successful future is a major priority for senior chemistry (secondary education) major Kristen Wilson. This summer, she is devoting her time to chemistry education research, which she knows will ultimately benefit her decision to become a high school chemistry teacher.
Wilson is spending 10 weeks as an undergraduate researcher in chemistry education at North Dakota State University (NDSU) in Fargo, North Dakota. She is conducting research on data collected by Dr. James Nyachwaya, assistant professor of chemistry education at NDSU and Wilson’s advisor.
In addition to conducting research and analyzing data, Wilson will be attending seminars on education based research and professional development. At the completion of her internship, Wilson will present her final research at a poster session, which she will bring back to Waynesburg.
“The poster will come back to Waynesburg, and if it is exceptional research, I can get additional funding to present the research at national conferences,” said Wilson.
Aside from Wilson’s work, she is taking advantage of networking opportunities with the NDSU faculty. These relationships may have the ability to provide her future career opportunities upon graduating from Waynesburg.
“Opportunities that internships and research open include strengthening research abilities, but this experience is showing me a field of research that I may have never seen,” said Wilson. “It is a very unique type of research that I will be bringing back to Waynesburg when I return in the fall.”
Wilson credits her participation in various Waynesburg activities for helping her have a stronger ability to work closely with others. She is a member of the Commuter Club, Relay for Life and the American Chemical Society (ACS). Wilson has also been inducted into the education honorary society, Kappa Delta Pi, and the chemistry honorary society, Gamma Sigma Epsilon.
“All of these involvements at Waynesburg have helped me become more comfortable with working with others and being a leader,” said Wilson. “They have provided me an opportunity to work closely with other professors and students, which has helped in this internship.”
In particular, Waynesburg’s ACS student chapter has been a great benefit to Wilson’s education. Being involved in the student chapter has introduced her to a lot of chemistry education research.
“Had I not been involved in ACS, I may not have taken an interest or even known this field existed, which, in turn, would not have made me search for opportunities like this one,” said Wilson.
Wilson will serve as the president of the University’s student chapter during the upcoming academic year.
Most of all, Wilson’s chemistry classes at Waynesburg have best prepared her for the work she is doing at NDSU.
“The chemistry classes at Waynesburg have helped me develop the skills needed to find, read and analyze research articles,” said Wilson. “The dedication to research and development of a research project that I had done at Waynesburg helped to prepare me for the expectations that Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) programs, such as this one here at NDSU, expect.”